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home : columns : dear harriette January 27, 2021

11/16/2020 8:15:00 AM
Hovering server puts a damper on meal

DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a weird experience the other day. My girlfriends and I were all out for lunch, and we had a really great server. He was polite, made jokes and light conversation and kept our water and wine glasses full. The only weird part was that each time he left our table, he stood nearby. He would stand near the empty table next to us or at one of the pillars around us. He stayed in close proximity almost as if he were watching us. And it wasn't like he was keeping an eye out to see if we needed something. He just constantly stared at us like he was listening to us. We all felt like we couldn't speak, and we had to just eat the food and look happy.

The restaurant was pretty empty, so there wasn't much else for him to do or other tables to wait, but usually they go back into the kitchen and come out to check on us. It was oddly uncomfortable, and we were unsure of what to say or do. We asked for the check and left, but we didn't enjoy lunch at all. We ended up going to a cafe to chat because we rushed out of there. What would you have recommended that we do in that situation? -- Disturbing Brunch

DEAR DISTURBING BRUNCH: One of you could have gotten up and gone over to him to thank him for taking care of you, adding that you want a bit of space. You could have called him on being overly focused and that you would like some privacy. You also could have spoken to the manager of the restaurant -- not to complain, but just to say that while you appreciate the server's attentiveness, you want to be free to talk with your girls without being so closely observed.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I still live separately, but we pretty much do everything together and share everything, including my car. I saved up money to purchase an older car that needed some work done, and my boyfriend has been putting a lot of time and money into it to make it run well and be more comfortable to drive. Sometimes I use the car to take him to work, or he will take me to work depending on if one of us has other errands that we need to run. He has also been using the car to go out with his friends at night and on the weekends.

He just told me that he's going away for the weekend with his friends and taking the car. That means I would be without a car, which I told him won't work because it's my car and I need to get to work. He thinks I am selfish because he has put more money into the car than I have, and he takes care of it and fixes all the problems. He seems to believe that I wouldn't even have the car if it weren't for him, so I should allow him to take it for a weekend. But again, where does that leave me? Should I let him take the car? -- Whose Car Is It

DEAR WHOSE CAR IS IT: Thank your boyfriend for all of his help with your car. Put your foot down -- not even so much about it being your car, but more that you have to go to work. You need the car for work. His trip is for play. He needs to find another option for travel.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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